We have been working hard over the past 6 months to make GNOME Software even better compared to the previous 3.12 release. Here’s a quick status update what the new 3.14 release brings.
Refined front page
Thanks to the design help from Allan Day and Lapo Calamandrei, we’ve made a number of improvements to the front page:
Improved update experience
- We’ve landed redesigns for reviewing previously installed updates, which are now shown in a separate dialog.
- It turned out that a lot of people were unhappy by too frequent update notifications, and we’ve listened: the notifications are now much less frequent. Security updates are time critical, and to make sure those get installed, GNOME Software nags daily. Other updates are now offered once a week, or you can opt to install them earlier through the GNOME Shell shutdown dialog at a convenient time, if you are rebooting / shutting down anyway.
- Update details now include the full package version when you click on an update. Again, a much requested feature by power users who want to know what they are installing.
- The updates page now shows the time when updates were last checked.
- It’s now possible to disable the background update checks altogether through a hidden setting: ‘gsettings set org.gnome.software download-updates false’
No need to go back to using command line tools to install plugin for popular apps. They are all now available through GNOME Software in the app details page:
Jim Hall recently published the results for the usability tests he conducted as part of his Master’s program. One of the four apps tested was GNOME Software. We’ve looked through the issues pointed out and have already done a number of changes to take the usability research into account.
New first run dialog which explains what the app does:
Moved the Install / Remove buttons down from the headerbar to a more prominent position:
Support for Arch and Debian and openSUSE
It’s no longer just Fedora where GNOME Software is supported! Richard has done a lot of work this cycle to make it possible to run GNOME Software on other distros besides Fedora. Stay tuned; a number of distros are going to ship GNOME Software this fall / winter.
500 papercuts and countless bug fixes
I am exaggerating here a bit and it is actually not 500 papercuts fixed, but it is still a TON of small issues fixed, hopefully making the overall experience much nicer.
We’ve also had some very nice fixes (THANKS!!!) from people who don’t regularly work on gnome-software. To point out some:
- Find-as-your-type search by Elad Alfassa
- New icons for the high contrast accessibility theme by Andreas Nilsson
- Dogtail UI tests by Martin Simon
GNOME Software is set to be the software installer in the upcoming Fedora 21 Workstation release and Richard and I both have been focusing a lot on making it work really well on Fedora.
- Fedora has nearly 45% of the apps now covered with appdata, thanks to the huge amount of work that Richard Hughes and Ryan Lerch and Máirín Duffy and all the rest of the Fedora contributors have put into this. But do not mistake this as a Fedora Workstation-only feature; it will also benefit Fedora’s KDE spin for having high quality app descriptions and screenshots. And it will also benefit all the rest of the distros since we’ve tried to get most of the appdata included upstream.
- A lot of improvement have landed in the stack surrounding GNOME Software. PackageKit in Fedora 21 now uses the hif backend based on the libraries from the DNF project, making the GNOME Software experience much much smoother than with the previous PackageKit yum backend. This is a huge step forward compared to what we shipped in Fedora 20.
- Once Richard’s work to include repository metadata on the Workstation install media lands, it should make the first launch experience much better by removing the need to wait while the metadata is downloaded.
If you have free time and want to help out GNOME Software, install Fedora 21 Alpha Workstation and give GNOME Software a try and report any bugs you can find. All feedback and bug reports are invaluable and highly appreciated.
Thanks everyone and hope you’ll enjoy GNOME Software 3.14!